Chinese to dominate soon

My son and I can speak some Mandarin but have not focussed on this in nearly a year. Our spoken Mandarin may not answer the Internet take over as it would be text based. This seems like we are focussed in an area that will not be of use but with the google translate service popping up anytime I am on a different page and MAndarin officially only having a certain number of words, I believe 1680, is this an issue? I believe noe – the spoken will be more uise to us as the written can always be translated at least to a basic understanding

Info graphic taken from the next web

Can I have a chrome notebook?

As a long term, in the realms of the internet, google user I am a fan of almost all they do and in fact have the nexus one google phone as my primary connection to the world. When on a laptop I live my life in a chrome browser only fleeting to IE on a very rare and infrequent basis. Usually this occurs when I am giving support to someone who is confused, I instantly assume an IE user…… (but that is a different story).

I received an email so I was really excited reading this and it seemed to fit me spot on. I am great at playing with new tech and giving feedback – after all I write small business web apps and spend a lot of time tweaking bugs or changes to the clients needs:


A while back, you signed up to receive news, updates, and launch information about Chrome and Chrome OS. We have good news: Chrome notebooks are here, and you’re eligible to receive one! 

Chrome notebooks are for people who live on the web and want a faster, safer and more secure experience without all the headaches of ordinary computers. 

To apply to get your Chrome notebook, please provide your US mailing address by clicking the link below no later than Friday, December 10, 2010 at 11:59 PM PST. 

Request a Chrome notebook 

The Chrome team 

Then I got to the third paragraph….. Do I really need a US mailing address to be a Beta tester as I am sure this is the level we are talking about. 

Well I am here as a word of warning to all – I spent a few days annoyed at this and missed the end date due to some travelling and not being eligible. When I got to it in my inbox again (not rushing now) I thought I would click the link anyway and see if I could feedback my international view. Well the page was still open and had an option to put a UK address. The state seemed to be stuck on US so I do not think it will go any further but I should not have delayed in the first place… 🙁

Google let us do the testing I am perfect for the job……….

Google Charitable Donations

This is what google have just released about what they are donating this holiday season. I would like to know is this not a drop in the ocean – sure it is great they are:

  • doing this donating
  • saying exactly what charities the money goes to
  • giving charities access to free online world class web tools

But I can’t help thinking, even as a google fan, that this figure could be 20 times bigger before they noticed the money going. I mean 20m is a strange figure why not 100m?

I am still positive Google – well done.

The Orwellian Present – Never Mind the Future.


This is Stephen Neary, a 20 year old man with Autism.

‘Just off the coast of Autonomy, across the Bay of Good Intentions, lies the fog shrouded Isle of Best Interests’.

If you have arrived at this blog today looked for cheer and sympathy for your woes – snow bound, central heating boiler broken down, redundancy imminent, then I am sorry for you – but you would be better off elsewhere.

My post today concerns a young man who needs our help and support.

Stephen Neary is a 20 year old man with Autism trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare.

It is a story that should be trumpeted from the front page of every main stream newspaper – but it won’t be. They will keep silent.

Autism is a ‘broad’ word, describing a wide spectrum of conditions with defining characteristics involving a difficulty in communicating with other people, and a restricted range of activities and interests. It can range from the mild to the profound. It is most definitely NOT a mental illness.

Some of those on the milder end of the Autistic spectrum are able to operate in ‘our’ world with relative ease, by choosing occupations such as computer programming where the ability to concentrate on repetitive tasks and not to be distracted by idle chatter is highly prized – almost certainly the software that allows you to read this post involved people who might be diagnosed as ‘Autistic’ – many of our greatest composers and artistes have been autistic so it is a mistake to see the condition as an entirely negative attribute.

Some autistic individuals suffer from an inability to empathise – to see their actions as other ‘might’ see them. They only see their own factual intention in those actions.

It follows, therefore, that those with autism find it easier to function in a familiar environment, where those who surround them can take an understanding view of their actions and utterances.

Stephen lived in such an environment, with his single parent Father, Mark Neary. One story will serve to illustrate the value of Mark’s long expertise in understanding Stephen’s unique thought process.

Together they watched an episode of Mr Bean, where Mr Bean put the Christmas Turkey on his head. They both laughed. Stephen likes to see his Father laugh. He promptly disappeared to the kitchen, and his Father figured out his probable pattern of thinking just in time to prevent the family’s freshly roasted Christmas Turkey being forced over his head….Stephen certainly couldn’t live alone without support.

Finding himself in a situation where others ‘misconstrue’ his actions makes Stephen agitated and frustrated, for he can’t express himself or understand that there might be more than one interpretation of his actions.

One cold winter’s day, Stephen’s father succumbed to the flu. Genuine flu – you don’t suffer from ‘Man Flu’ when you are a full time single parent carer. He rang his local authority’s respite centre, where Stephen had been once before, to ask if they could look after him for three days. They could.

At the end of that first day in respite, despite the fact that Stephen had been there many times before, the staff felt themselves ‘unable to cope with Stephen’. He was aware that his Father was ill and upset at being separated from him. The respite centre transferred him to the ominously named ‘Positive Behaviour Unit’.

Now the Positive Behaviour Unit is a mighty politically correct place. Tap someone on the shoulder to attract their attention, and they don’t think ‘that is how Stephen has always attracted my attention since he was a child’ – they say – ‘he touched me, that is an assault’ and promptly record it in their daily log…..

When Stephen’s Father went to collect him after three days, they had logged many such ‘assaults’ – and announced that they were retaining Stephen for ‘assessment’. No! His Father couldn’t take him home.

There is no danger of Stephen being ‘sectioned’ under the Mental Health Act, for Autism is not a mental illness and not covered by that Act.

However, there is another, newer piece of legislation which does cover those who ‘may be at risk of harming themselves’. It is known in shorthand as DOLs. Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. It applies to hospitals and care homes and describes the circumstances under which they can – not ‘lock someone up’, for that is the province of the Mental Health Act – but turn the key in the lock and not give that key to someone ‘in their best interests’……it is a fine piece of legalese that may leave you baffled.

The ‘best interests’ requirement:

(1) The relevant person meets the best interests requirement if all of the following conditions are met.
(2)The first condition is that the relevant person is, or is to be, a detained resident.
(3)The second condition is that it is in the best interests of the relevant person for him to be a detained resident.
(4)The third condition is that, in order to prevent harm to the relevant person, it is necessary for him to be a detained resident.
(5)The fourth condition is that it is a proportionate response to—(a)the likelihood of the relevant person suffering harm, and(b)the seriousness of that harm, for him to be a detained resident.

It certainly left Stephen baffled, for he could no more get through that locked door than if he had been ‘locked up’ under the Mental Health Act.

The longer they kept Stephen behind that locked door, away from his Father, the more upset he became, the more people he tapped on the shoulder to ask when he might be allowed home again…..eventually the ‘Positive Behaviour Unit’ had logged 306 such incidents over a seven month period, and decided that Stephen’s behaviour was ‘so challenging’ that he could never be allowed to return home.

Despite the fact that by this time the unhappy Stephen had been assessed as ‘extremely challenging’ – too ‘dangerous’ to be returned to his Fathers care, Stephen, unattended by these ‘professional behaviour managers’ managed to slip out of the Unit, in his pyjamas, and attempted to return home. During the course of this futile flight, he met up with a Vicar – and according to one report, removed his glasses ‘aggressively’. The authorities are unable to even name the Vicar, far less file a report from him.

Now comes the interesting bit – thank-you for reading this far!

Whilst Stephen lived happily at home, he had the support of professional carers from the ‘Trinity Noir’ company. Stephen’s father was very happy with the level of support and had no complaints. The Local Authority footed the bill, as is their legal duty. Changing Stephen’s diagnosis from “autism, severe learning difficulties and challenging behaviour”, to “extreme challenging behaviour, learning difficulties and possible autistic spectrum disorder” may seem hair splitting to my readers, but on such finite definitions rest the liability to pay for Stephen.

The new diagnosis could shift the responsibility for care onto the NHS Primary Care Trust…..the current suggestion is that Stephen is ‘sent to a care home in Wales’, many miles from his home in London, who will ‘assess the reasons behind his behaviour’ – I would think most of my readers will have figured out for themselves by now the reasons for his behaviour. He wants to go home! His Father wants him to go home!

Those of you with a modicum of legal knowledge will be saying ‘but surely he can get legal representation and go before the mental health tribunal – I’ve read about cases like that?’

No, he can’t, he has no access to the Mental Heath Tribunal – Autism isn’t a mental illness. This action isn’t being taken under the Mental Health Act – it is being taken under the Mental Capacity Act. Under the MCA he only has access to a ‘Best Interests Assessor’ – who is appointed on a consultancy basis, and paid, by…..the Local Authority.

He can be deprived of his liberty for up to a year, which period can be renewed indefinitely, for the purpose of ‘assessing’ him – see above – being sent to Wales to ‘assess’ why he is unhappy at being locked up.

The only Court to which he has access – purely for ‘appeal’ purposes, is our old friend, the secretive Court of Protection. Assuming that Stephen can figure out how to make an application to the Court and represent himself….

As it happens, the Local Authority have already done that, not on Stephen’s behalf, but on their own behalf. They wish to have a full ‘Welfare Deputyship’ so that there will be no awkward parent demanding the return of their child – and his support package. It will be their decision where he lives.

Remember, Stephen only went into respite care for three days, that was last December. Almost a year ago to the day.

His distress at being parted from his Father has been treated as ‘challenging behaviour’. His attempts to escape have been treated as ‘a risk to himself and others’, including his Father. (The risk to others is no part of the Mental Capacity Act!)

After next week, no one will be able to write of Stephen’s case. It will vanish behind the stone walls of the Court of Protection. Just one more file.

You can help by giving this case as much publicity as possible over the next few days.

You can sign the petition demanding he be returned to his family. (Currently 7,499 signatures).

You can write of Stephen’s case on your own blog.

If you still have time to spare, might I suggest that you write to whichever Daily Newspaper you read and ask them why their pages are full of tittle tattle from illegally released diplomatic cables – and yet they can never find the space to illustrate true injustices happening to a British citizen right under their noses?



UK traffic speed

Travelling in europe is not how I remembered it. Those days of border crossing must have disappeared many years ago but I had not driven on mainland europe for years. Flying to many european locations and further afield since the last time I drove in france some 17 years ago.
I shot across Wales and England in the middle of the night getting to the tunnel with my car before 5am. The tunnel was an interesting experience in modern tech. I had a ticket that said I may need to quote a reference number on arrival. I pulled up the the touch screen in my car and after searching on the passenger seat for the reference turned to find the screen saying my name and asking me if I would like an earlier train or would I prefer to wait for the one I am booked on?
From a few touches on the screen it was a simple process to get on the train to France. Being on it, including loading and unloading less than 1 hour.
Theoretically I could have driven from my home in Wales to my destination in Germany without leaving the car or being searched. My bladder would never have allowed this but the theory holds. I only showed my passport in England just before we got onto the train. This was officially french customs I think and some French sounding man saw the outside of my British passport and just waved me on.
On arrival in France I did stop as I had not added the GB sticker / magnet but a trip to the first roundabout sorted the driving like I had never left.
The sat nav makes us soo lazy. I am following the borrowed sat nav to Germany. It belongs to a friend who like me tends to call it twat nav as these things really do make you stupid. With no borders or signs Vodafone became my friend. I got the welcome text form Vodafone for France, Belgium then Netherlands in quick succession. Had it not been for the Belgium text I would wonder if the sat nav had the correct address in it. When the Netherlands one arrived however I became properly concerned as my geopgraphic knowledge did not have me going through the Netherlands. Before I could be concerned the text of welcome to Germany arrived making me relax back to the Harry Potter discs. The whole journey was less than 12 hours including time for food and bathroom breaks.
After a few days of work I went on to Stuttgart area to see some old friends. This was a reasonably long trip but well worth it. The driving back put me on a sunny Sunday on German Autobahns. Sundays in Germany mean no Trucks – none. Once you work out the signs and the understanding of the lack of reminders some interesting things occur. The end of speed restriction sign signifys no speed limit but it as with other speed signs tend not to be repeated often or at all till the next change.
So I am on an autobahn on a Sunday afternoon where a car shoots past me and we are the only cars in view on my side of the road. So without hesitation, knowing the lack of speed limit, I put my foot down with the intent of keeping up. We increases our speed with me a polite distance behind till the speedo says over 130. The first time this happened I felt a conscious thought to relax. I shot past many cars but was mainly on a stretch of road which rarely had more than 2 other cars at any one point in view. 
I noticed concern after the first thought never repeated as an issue. I sat at around 140 on and off for the best part of the next hour. I felt very calm and knew I had reached the max speed of the car. 
This, being able to drive as quick as you like, system had 2 interesting effects:
1 – When the limit became set back to 120, 100 or 80 regularly all (km/h), I had no issues with drastically reducing speed to be inside or on the speed restriction dictated. I had none of those feelings, of pushing above the limit frustrated at the snails pace, that I get when driving in the UK. The knowledge that I would be able to speed up in the next few miles created a feeling of content relaxation at the imposed limit.
2 – I stopped worrying about the speed and completely relaxed in the space between speed limits. I was not travelling more than 120 again but had no real need to as I knew the limit of the car and felt comfortable with this area of the speedo.
Would the system reduce stress or increase accidents if implimented in the UK?

Well I was priviledged. I had a sunny day with no wind and great visibility, a few hours of noticably little traffic and very importantly – no trucks. These things would be near impossible to replicate in the UK as we dont have truck bans and the only time the motorways are relatively clear of traffic is in the middle of the night.
Could the implimentation on the motorways be something similar to the outside lane is only for high speed and only between 0.00 and 5am?
With the variable speed cameras this could be implimented on a lane by lane basis with the modern technology over lanes of diffferent speeds. It could be implimented slowly with awarenes raising campaigns pointing out it is only relevant on roads with speed restrictions on changeable display overhead. This is what they do at the moment in the other direction. As more people are on the road and it become congested so the danger increases they reduce the speed for a huge distance on the M25 for exapmle to maintain movement rather than miles of stationery traffic jams.
Could the reverse of this also be true. Dont go mad but a speed of 120 could be placed over the outside lanes reducing as traffic, obstructions or conditions change. 
This could instantly be added or removed if an unexpected increase in traffic occurs.
I feel these things could change.